From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Rule 12
Mains level : President’s Rule
To revoke President’s Rule, the government has used a special Section in the Union government’s Transaction of Business Rules, which allows for revocation of President’s Rule without Cabinet approval if the Prime Minister “deems it necessary”.
- Rule 12 of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961, allows the PM to depart from laid down norms at his discretion.
- Titled “Departure from Rules”, Rule 12 says, the Prime Minister may, in case or classes of cases permit or condone a departure from these rules, to the extent he deems necessary.
- The Cabinet can subsequently give post-facto approval for any decision taken under Rule 12.
Under what circumstances is Rule 12 used?
- Rule 12 is usually not used to arrive at major decisions by the government.
- However, it has been used in matters such as the withdrawal of an office memorandum or signing of MoUs in the past.
- The last big decision taken through the invocation of Rule 12 was re-organisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh on October 31.
- The proclamations issued by the President that day, dividing various districts between the two Union Territories, were issued under Rule 12.
- The Cabinet gave post-facto approval to the same on November 20.
So, what happened in the case of Maharashtra?
- At 5.47 am on Saturday, the notification revoking President’s Rule was published in the government gazette.
- This indicated that the notification was actually signed by the President at some point earlier than that time.
- At 7.50 am, the new chief minister and deputy chief minister were sworn in.
Why it’s controversial?
- The invocation of Rule 12 appears to indicate that even top leaders of the union cabinet were not aware of the impending move.
- Many top ministers were, in fact, out of Delhi, and were not available for a Cabinet meeting.